Zumwalt Poems Online

In the Course of the Course 
(response to Poetry Challenge #2)

We
grabbingly
latch on
like whining cheesy-cracker-stuffed stubby, chunky children at Legoland
to
these truths,
to
be, been and be self-evident:

All are created equal,
not less, not more,
not borrowed,
not bored,
not bad,
not good,
not misunderstood;

Like Superman from Krypton
well-endowed are we must be
but with unalien rights —

Earth-rights,
rights of life
rights of liberty
rights to pursue our pursuits —

But we cannot fly,
run faster than bullets,
produce more power than locomotives —

So we need,
to secure, protect and enforce,
not some outer-space, displaced, lost-race, straight-laced, de-spectacled face
but our own composite, not so pretty, face
with warts, keloids, pimples, moles, freckles and cysts

termed, short or long, government;
empowered not by one, two octillion ton, yellow sun
but consent of the those that
celebrate, lament, agree, dissent
admire, resent,
are dissatisfied, content,
weak-willed and hell-bent.

And
whenever
any form,
mutant, imprudent, pollutant,
full of self-centered-amusement,
unbalancedly affluent, inimically disputant,
eats more than it should,
swallows the plates and the silverware with the food,
feuds with the stew,
acts crude, rude and so lewdly, nudely intrudes
it is more than okay to open the door
and say
don’t stay,
pray go,
for what are you good for?

And then find a replacement,
build-it-yourself kit,
fit,
more than just a little bit,
to protect
and effect
our best-dressed (with suit, tie and vest)
north, south, east and west,
sometimes blessed, sometimes unblessed,
possibly own-interest stressed and contested,
quite often protested,
unelitist and not easily defeated,
meanest, baddest, sickest, but self-inflicted,
unrepressed, more-is-definitely-not-less,
not too overly stretched something-better-must-always-come-next happiness.

— Zumwalt (2011)

=======================================================

Original Passage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Formatted Passage:

We hold
these truths
to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that among these are
life,
liberty and
the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever
any form
of government becomes
destructive to these ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,

and to institute new government,
laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

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Comments on: "Response to Poetry Challenge #2" (20)

  1. Its hard for me to get my head around it 🙂

    Like

  2. ha this is a riot ready to happen…some really nice quick rhymes…i like the cultural references in the declaration and superman (a national symbol) that also drive this….would love to hear it read actually…

    Like

  3. brian,

    Thanks for coming over to a wordpress site and for commenting. I don’t get over to the blogger.com world very often. Thanks for giving an incentive to do so!

    Like

  4. I realy liked your clever approach. Tell me what was your thinking behind this?

    Like

  5. abrookesamuel,

    I passed this note to Zumwalt via email and got the following reply:

    “Sammy or Brooke or just plain ‘a’, thanks for asking. Just following the challenge. Took the Declaration of Independence and followed the instructions of the challenge. What poem means to you is more important what it means to me. Same goes with the Declaration itself. 🙂 “

    Like

  6. i like the chubby kids in lego land, and the unalien rights.

    i really like: any form,
    mutant, imprudent, pollutant,
    full of self-centered-amusement,
    unbalancedly affluent, inimically disputant,
    eats more than it should,

    bravo for writing against obesity. were you thinking of wall-e when you wrote this?

    really strange, you also have some similar themes to mine, and I didn’t read your before I wrote mine.

    Like

  7. This was great! I loved that there was enough of the original maintained and the right intervals to know exactly what material you were working with even before I read the “Original Passage.” But you brought it up-to-date. Nice rhymes, too. Peace, Linda

    Like

  8. Oh bravo! You handled this brilliantly.

    Like

  9. love this,

    lego land for kids, what remarkable imagery.

    keep it up.

    Like

  10. Fantastic wordplay, some lines I’ll not forget! Thank you for the intriguing and challenging prompt.

    Like

  11. i love the source you took…what a cool idea and then the rhymes, wordplays and allits…loved..outer-space, displaced, lost-race, straight-laced, de-spectacled face…and thanks again…seems people love it…and you should really dive into the blogger world as well…there are no invisible fences…really…some great poets in the bloggerworld…would be a shame to miss out on them…just saying…smiles

    Like

  12. manicddaily said:

    A very clever idea and super-well done. K.

    Like

  13. I read this last night (and again this morning) after working on my own entry, and it was a delightful breathe of air, sarcasm and biting wit being my favorite seasonings and a poem well sauteed.

    Like

  14. I quite enjoyed this. All these words from reflecting on the Declaration of Independence!

    Like

  15. what an awesome poem! you’ve done a great job with a bit of prose people don’t usually see as poetic.

    Like

  16. What a source to refer to and make a poem out of. Humanitarian awareness at its best.
    Very strong lines:
    “And then find a replacement,
    build-it-yourself kit,
    fit,
    more than just a little bit,
    to protect
    and effect
    our best-dressed (with suit, tie and vest)
    north, south, east and west,”
    love it!

    Like

  17. zongrik, Linda, Emily, The Cello Strings, Anna, claudia, manicdaily, Yousei, Mary, Jess, Aida,

    Thanks so much for taking part in the challenge and for visiting here. Appreciate you reading and commenting on this Zumwalt.

    I have learned so much from reading your responses to the challenges. Amazing to see how many talented poets there are in the blogosphere.

    Like

  18. Very impressive and thanks again for hosting. this was a lot of fun.

    Like

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